ANIMAL MEDIA ALERTS -- DECEMBER 2003
MAD COW DISEASE IN THE US -- 12/23/03
As DawnWatch goes on holiday break, till January 5, I leave you with what is surely the biggest veggie story of the year -- perhaps many years. Mad Cow Disease has been discovered in the United States. A sample taken from a "downer" cow (meaning one so sick she had to be dragged to slaughter) in Washington State, on December 9, has tested "presumptive positive." The meat from the cow went to two processing plants in Washington State, though according to the New York Times web article, "officials stressed that the meat did not come from parts of the animal that are known to harbor the mad cow agent."
Animals harbor the disease for many years before showing symptoms, and generally only those too sick to walk are tested. So now that we know the disease is in the United States, it would seem unrealistic to imagine that no other cows with the disease had been slaughtered without being tested. And since a Holstein is a dairy cow, and over 80% of hamburger meat in the United States comes from dairy cows, and one hamburger can contain meat from hundreds of ground up animals, it would not seem unwarranted to suspect that the disease has entered the human food chain.
You can find out more about the issue on the New York Times website at:
Tomorrow and over the next few days the story will be in every paper in America (and most around the world) probably on the front page. Many Americans will go off beef -- and perhaps be inclined to eat more of other animals instead. Please don't miss this opportunity to send a letter to the editor of your paper reminding people that a diet free of animal products is a healthful and compassionate choice.
A huge proportion of letters received by smaller papers are published, and larger papers will always publish a letter or two on a subject about which they receive many (unless the letters carry similar phrasing and are thus clearly the result of an orchestrated activism effort). So the few minutes you take to jot down a few veg-friendly lines are well spent.
I sign off sending much love to our animal protection community and a huge thank you to all who have written letters on behalf of the animals throughout the year. I wish us all a happy and healthy holiday season and vigor with which to continue the good fight in 2004.
FABULOUS ANTI FUR MESSAGE FROM BIZARRO -- 12/22/03
The December 22 Bizarro cartoon is a winner!
I have pasted it above, but for those who only receive text on their browsers: We see a woman dressed in a huge fur coat, walking a pretty little dog. A young woman, bending down to pet the dog says, "She's so cute! Would you take $100 for her? I've got a jacket she'd make the PERFECT collar for."
Bizarro is a syndicated newspaper cartoon that appears in approximately 200 newspapers around the world. In the US, those papers include the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dallas Morning News, Miami Herald, Boston Herald, San Diego Union Tribune, Denver Post, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Detroit News, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Las Vegas Sun, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Nashville Cit Paper, Houston Chronicle, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In Canada they include the Vancouver Sun, Toronto Globe and Mail, and the Montreal Gazette.
If your paper carries the cartoon, you have a perfect excuse for an anti fur letter to the editor, quoting the cartoon and expressing appreciation for the sentiment. If you have any trouble finding the correct email address for a letter to the editor, don't hesitate to ask me for help.
If your paper does not carry Bizarro, you might want to contact the paper and try to change that. Bizarro is a superb, award winning cartoon, and its creator, Dan Piraro, is an outspoken animal rights activist. If you go to his website, http://www.bizarro.com/ and click on "Animal Stuff" you are in for a treat. You'll find a short essay, "Why I'm Vegan," another headed, "Are Humans Carnivores?" some great quotes, and....LOTS OF ANIMAL FRIENDLY CARTOONS that have appeared in papers all over the world! Check it out.
PRESS ENTERPRISE HUGE STORY AND GRAPHIC SHELTER PHOTOS ON FRONT PAGE - 12/21/03
Since DawnWatch is a national major media alert list, I would generally not send out, to all of my subscribers, an article in the Press-Enterprise from the Riverside County area. (Though the paper is not tiny, with a circulation of over 100,000.) But I had to send out an alert on this astounding front page story, which includes some of the most graphic, distressing photos I have ever seen (which I will paste below) including one, on the front page, of an adorable puppy being killed be lethal injection. I am sure the paper is going to get plenty of flak for offending its readers, so I hope to encourage many supportive comments as well.
The front page story (Sunday, December 21) headed "No Sanctuary," by Bonnie Stuart, is huge. And pages A12, 13, and 14 are filled with nothing but articles and shocking photos on the shelter and companion animal overpopulation crises. Further, the paper notes that this is part 1 of a two part series, with more coming tomorrow (Monday, December 22.) I recommend checking out the paper's website: http://www.pe.com/
We learn, "In 2002, Inland-area shelter workers killed about 63 percent of the 113,955 dogs and cats that entered shelters alive." And that according to Riverside County Supervisor Bob Buster, "politicians haven't provided funding for comprehensive services...The county needs to hire more animal-control workers, improve the shelter, provide more spay-neuter services and do more to reach the Latino population."
The front page article, and those inside the paper, include heartbreaking stories of individual relinquishments and deaths.
find the lead story, "No Sanctuary" on line at:
Other stories are headed:
'People call us murderers' --EUTHANIZING: The job takes a toll on conflicted shelter staffs. Many workers lean on each other.
You'll find it at:
"For officer, another grueling day in a city of strays"
They are accompanied by shocking photos, both in the print version of the paper and on the web. I will paste some of those photographs below.
The paper has asked for feedback on the story:
"If you have comments about these stories, please call (909) 368-9998 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Leave your name and phone number if you would like a call back during the coming week."
Please send a quick note of thanks.
And I send a quick note of thanks to superb California activist Priscilla Gargalis, for making sure we knew about this spread.
front page of the Sunday, December 21, Atlanta Journal Constitution
included a lengthy, distressing story, by Charles Seabrook, headed,
"Endangered Creatures for Sale. Illegal animal trade reaps billions
danger to human health is discussed, "Both of this year's novel
scourges, monkeypox and SARS, stemmed from contact with wild animals. And
West Nile virus may have originated in the United States with an infected
we learn that after the shock of capture, the cruelty of
years of imprisonment is not what most of the animals
suffer: "Authorities figure that as many as 75 percent of the
smuggled creatures die on their long, hot, airless journey."
of the imports are legal, whereas others are of endangered species. We
learn that it is a common ploy to stash endangered species with the legal
animals. For example, we read about one notorious smuggler, "To fool
airport customs and wildlife inspectors, he bound the rare animals with
tape so they couldn't move and stuffed them in burlap bags stapled to the
bottom of shipping crates. Many died from the harsh shipping conditions,
but Wong stood to profit as long as some survived."
read, "Not all smuggled animals come through cargo facilities."
Many are hidden the clothing of airline passengers. And we learn that Chye,
whose sentencing hearing opened the article, sent most of his animals via
FedEx, labeled as books, magazines, lamps or other merchandise."
read about exotic pet shows, where many of the animals on display
have been bred in captivity, but we are told "if you go to a
pet show or a store to buy an exotic pet, you really have no foolproof way
of knowing if it's legal or not."
find the whole article on line at:
front page story provides a great opportunity for letters to the editor
appreciative of the article and against keeping wild animals as pets.
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.
HERALD TRIBUNE COLUMN ON COETZEE AND ANIMAL RIGHTS
Friday, December 19, International Herald Tribune includes a commentary
piece by Tom Regan and Martin Rowe, headed: "Animal Rights: What the
Nobel Committee failed to note." (Pg. 9)
Regan is well-known in our movement as the author of 'The Case for Animal
Rights.' You can find out about his new book, "Empty Cages" at http://tomregan-animalrights.com/.
Martin Rowe is the author of "Nicaea: A Book of Correspondences"
and the Director of Publishing and Vice-President of Booklight Inc. and
Lantern Books: http://www.lanternbooks.com/
article expresses regret that the issue of animal rights was not brought
to light when an animal rights sympathizer (one might say advocate)
accepted the Nobel Prize for Literature.
South African novelist J. M. Coetzee was honored with the Nobel Prize for
Literature earlier this month, the world observed again a form of
apartheid all too familiar to some admirers of his impressive body of
and Rowe mention that Coetzee himself has noted the critics' lack of
interest in the animal themes that run through his books -- though those themes are
impossible to miss. Coetzee's latest novel, Elizabeth Costello, features a
staunch animal rights activist, and details the cruelties our species
levels at others. Regan and Rowe note some of those abuses in
the commentary piece, then write "As Costello wearily asks, how
is it possible that the great mass of humanity fails to recognize what
humans do to animals for the great evil that it is?"
continue, "Like the Nobel awarded to writer and fellow animal
advocate Isaac Bashevis Singer a quarter century ago, Coetzee's prize
should shake our complacent acceptance that cruelty to others -- human or
non-human -- is simply a matter of cultural norms. Violence is not
discrete, and, as science increasingly demonstrates, suffering is no
longer the exclusive experience of the human."
on the title of Coetzee's Booker Prize winning novel "Disgrace,"
in which the the killing of unwanted dogs, detailed for the reader, profoundly
effects the previously detached protagonist, Regan and Rowe
believe there is no disgrace in speaking for animals, no disgrace in
caring for their treatment and demanding their liberation. Even though the
taciturn, vegetarian Coetzee did not have the opportunity to mention
animals in Oslo, his work urges his readers to confront, with the same
unblinking eye he brings to his writing on the human condition,
obscenities like factory farming, useless animal experimentation, trophy
hunting and the casual way millions of surplus 'pets' are euthanized each
full commentary piece can be found on line at: http://www.iht.com/articles/122038.html
can express our delight that this piece has appeared in the International
Herald Tribune by sending appreciative letters to the editor in support of
animal rights. The Tribune takes letters at: email@example.com
include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a
letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.
would disagree that Coetzee "did not have the opportunity to mention
animals in Oslo." (And I believe he actually spoke in Stockholm.)
His was the floor, on which he could take the stance of his choosing. He
was asked by some activists to use the limelight to help promote the cause
of animal rights, and he could have done so. However, Coetzee is
known to be reticent with regard to offering his own opinions on social matters
-- he chooses instead to speak through his characters -- though he says
they speak for themselves.
is also not fair to suggest that Coetzee did not mention animals in his
speech. The speech was delivered in the voice of Robinson
Crusoe, Daniel Defoe's classic character who Coetzee revisited in his
novel "Foe." The address opens with a moving depiction of animal
cruelty. I will share that opening with you below. And you can read the
whole speech on line at:
is the first section of Coetzee's speech delivered at the Nobel ceremony:
"He and his man
on the coast of Lincolnshire, is a handsome town, writes his man. The
tallest church steeple in all of England is to be found there; sea-pilots
use it to navigate by. Around Boston is fen country. Bitterns abound,
ominous birds who give a heavy, groaning call loud enough to be heard two
miles away, like the report of a gun.
fens are home to many other kinds of birds too, writes his man, duck and
mallard, teal and widgeon, to capture which the men of the fens, the
fen-men, raise tame ducks, which they call decoy ducks or duckoys.
are tracts of wetland. There are tracts of wetland all over Europe, all
over the world, but they are not named fens, fen is an English
word, it will not migrate.
Lincolnshire duckoys, writes his man, are bred up in decoy ponds, and kept
tame by being fed by hand. Then when the season comes they are sent abroad
to Holland and Germany. In Holland and Germany they meet with others of
their kind, and, seeing how miserably these Dutch and German ducks live,
how their rivers freeze in winter and their lands are covered in snow,
fail not to let them know, in a form of language which they make them
understand, that in England from where they come the case is quite
otherwise: English ducks have sea shores full of nourishing food, tides
that flow freely up the creeks; they have lakes, springs, open ponds and
sheltered ponds; also lands full of corn left behind by the gleaners; and
no frost or snow, or very light.
these representations, he writes, which are made all in duck language,
they, the decoy ducks or duckoys, draw together vast numbers of fowl and,
so to say, kidnap them. They guide them back across the seas from Holland
and Germany and settle them down in their decoy ponds on the fens of
Lincolnshire, chattering and gabbling to them all the time in their own
language, telling them these are the ponds they told them of, where they
shall live safely and securely.
while they are so occupied the decoy-men, the masters of the decoy-ducks,
creep into covers or coverts they have built of reeds upon the fens, and
all unseen toss handfuls of corn upon the water; and the decoy ducks or
duckoys follow them, bringing their foreign guests behind. And so over two
or three days they lead their guests up narrower and narrower waterways,
calling to them all the time to see how well we live in England, to a
place where nets have been spanned.
the decoy-men send out their decoy dog, which has been perfectly trained
to swim after fowl, barking as he swims. Being alarmed to the last degree
by this terrible creature, the ducks take to the wing, but are forced down
again into the water by the arched nets above, and so must swim or perish,
under the net. But the net grows narrower and narrower, like a purse, and
at the end stand the decoy men, who take their captives out one by one.
The decoy ducks are stroked and made much of, but as for their guests,
these are clubbed on the spot and plucked and sold by the hundred and by
of this news of Lincolnshire his man writes in a neat, quick hand, with
quills that he sharpens with his little pen-knife each day before a new
bout with the page."
latest novel, 'Elizabeth Costello,' is largely a series of lessons
delivered by the novel's protagonist. Two of the lessons are searing
and challenging arguments for animal rights which go so far as to
draw the holocaust comparison; that is an analogy from which most
people, even some of the leaders of our movement, shy away. Wouldn't
the most recent novel from the winner of this year's Nobel Prize
for Literature make a great holiday gift? You can buy it at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0670031305/dawnwatch
two animal rights lessons were originally published in the 1999 novel
"The Lives of Animals" (which came from a lecture
series presented at Princeton University.) Those only interested in
Coetzee's animal rights presentations might prefer that novel, which
includes chapters written in response to Costello's arguments, by
Marjorie Garber, Peter Singer, Wendy Doniger, and Barbara Smuts. You
can buy it at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/069107089X/dawnwatch
REVIEW -- PETA VS KFC
-- 12/22/03 edition
-- 12/22/03 edition
December 22 issue of the conservative magazine the National Review
includes an article (p27), by Jay Nordlinger, headed "PETA vs..
point: The article headed "PETA vs. KFC" presents a great
opportunity for letters to the editor reminding those conservative National
Review readers that giving up chicken is an excellent way to avoid
contributing to egregious cruelty.
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.
find loads of information on PETA's battle against KFC at http://www.kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/
always a superb source of information on the treatment of chickens, and
why one might not want to eat them, or eggs, is the United
Poultry Concerns website: http://www.upc-online.org/
MAGAZINE -- GOT HORMONES?
issues are in another major publication - the December 22 issue of Time
Magazine (p. 52.). The magazine includes an article, by Margot Roosevelt
Leeds, headed, "Got Hormones? The simmering issue of milk labels
boils over when an agrochemical giant sues small farmers in Maine."
ARTICLE QUESTIONING HEALTH BENEFITS OF MILK
Saturday, December 13, one of the world's leading newspapers, The
Guardian (UK), published a lengthy article seriously questioning the
place of cows' milk in a healthful diet and government subsidies for
the dairy industry. The article looked at both the UK and the US. It is
available on the web in two parts at the following addresses:
highly recommend reading it, but will summarize it below for those who
don't have the time to read a 5467 word piece.
The article is
headed, "DAIRY MONSTERS: We used to take it for granted that milk was
good for us. But now the industry faces a crisis, with the public
questioning such assumptions. So just how healthy is milk? Anne Karpf
notes that there is mounting scientific evidence that "regular
consumption of large quantities of milk can be bad for your health, and
campaigners are making a noise about the environmental and international
costs of large-scale intensive European dairy farming." But she
comments, "So thorough is our dairy indoctrination that it requires a
total gestalt switch to contemplate the notion that milk may help to cause
the very diseases it's meant to prevent....Today, there's a big bank of
scientific evidence against milk consumption, alleging not only that it
causes some diseases but, equally damning, that it fails to prevent others
for which it has traditionally been seen as a panacea."
refers to the work of Frank Oski, former paediatrics director at Johns
Hopkins school of medicine, "who estimated in his book Don't Drink
Your Milk! that half of all iron deficiency in US infants results from
cows' milk-induced intestinal bleeding." You can buy that book at:
discusses lactose intolerance, which causes "bloating, cramps,
diarrhoea and farts.": "In 1965, investigators at Johns
Hopkins found that 15% of all the white people and almost three-quarters
of all the black people they tested were unable to digest lactose. Milk,
it seemed, was a racial issue, and far more people in the world are unable
than able to digest lactose. That includes most Thais, Japanese, Arabs and
Ashkenazi Jews, and 50% of Indians."
notes that milk critics say that the idea that osteoporosis is caused
by calcium deficiency is "one of the great myths of our time."
She writes, "In fact, the bone loss and deteriorating bone tissue
that take place in osteoporosis are due not to calcium deficiency but
rather to its resorption: it's not that our bodies don't get enough
calcium, rather that they excrete too much of what they already have. So
we need to find out what it is that's breaking down calcium stores in the
first place, to the extent that more than one in three British women now
suffers from osteoporosis. The most important culprit is almost certainly
the overconsumption of protein. High-protein foods such as meat, eggs and
dairy make excessive demands on the kidneys, which in turn leach calcium
from the body. One solution, then, isn't to increase our calcium intake,
but to reduce our consumption of protein, so our bones don't have to
surrender so much calcium. Astonishingly, according to this newer, more
critical view, dairy products almost certainly help to cause, rather than
quotes T Colin Campbell, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional
Biochemistry at Cornell University: "The association between the
intake of animal protein and fracture rates appears to be as strong as
that between cigarette smoking and lung cancer." Another quote from
Campbell associates milk consumption with an increased risk of cancer:
"Cows' milk protein may be the single most significant chemical
carcinogen to which humans are exposed".
discusses the conflicts of interest that have led to milk's status as the
perfect food despite much scientific evidence to the contrary:
reason why official policy on milk is often at odds with medical evidence
lies in the conflict of government role, both in Britain and the US. The
US department of agriculture, for example, has the twin, and often
mutually incompatible, tasks of promoting agricultural products and
providing dietary advice. In 2000, it was still recommending two to three
servings of dairy products a day, to the rage of critics such as the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. PCRM claimed that six of
the 11-member drafting panel had close ties with the meat, egg and dairy
industries (five of them with dairy).
the UK's National Dairy Council advertisements, commenting, "Of
course, it's no crime for the industry to promote itself; what's
disturbing is its masquerading as a disinterested source of
feels that perhaps the "most insidious dimension of the dairy
fightback is funding research."
article discusses animal welfare concerns in detail. She starts with
"the vegetarian fallacy" which allows people to separate the
dairy and veal industries:
the researchers raising questions about milk sits the more inflammatory
animal rights movement, which has recently focused its attention on dairy
farming and what it argues is its intrinsic cruelty. For a long time,
those concerned about animal welfare seemed magically to exempt milk from
their preoccupations. They suffered from what Richard Young of the Soil
Association calls 'the vegetarian fallacy': non-meat-eaters who still
drink milk and so perpetuate the cycle that ends in crated veal calves
destined for European dinner tables. Now many of them have begun to
contend that, organic or not, there's no such thing as humane milk. For in
order to lactate, cows - like humans - first have to get pregnant. Calves
are essentially the waste by-product of the industry. What happens to them
once they've done what they were created to do - stimulate a cow's milk
production by the very fact of their being conceived?
goes on to discuss the exhaustive exploitation of the cows' bodies:
she notes the pain of mastitis and its impact on human health:
Karpf discusses government efforts to protect the dairy industry, such as
the food disparagement acts introduced in 13 US states, and the UK's
Common Agricultural Policy, which she writes is so absurd it "will
have you thinking you've woken up in the middle of a Dali painting."
She details the ways in which the government props up the dairy industry
at the expense of small-scale farms in developing countries, human health,
and animal welfare.
asks what the alternative might be, and notes that people don't want their
eating habits policed. "Yet," she writes, "what
we eat and drink isn't just the result of individual choice and cultural
tradition: the contents of our shopping trolleys are at least equally
shaped by government policy and official decisions."
quotes Dr Tim Lobstein, co-director of the Food Commission, an independent
watchdog on food issues, who "advocates the removal of all EU
subsidies from dairy production, with the money going to support
sustainable forms of food production, including some organic dairy
farming." He comments, with regard to struggling dairy farmers:
"I can't help to stay in business the producers of commodities that
aren't helping human health - they'll have to find alternative employment.
The EU should help farmers transfer to products more helpful to human
health, such as horticulture."
calls for a national debate on milk production and consumption. She
writes, "Part of this debate will have to be a frank appraisal of
whether milk can jeopardise human health.... it seems increasingly clear
that dairy products alone probably don't protect bone health in the way
we've long thought, and that calcium intake on its own has only a small
effect on bone density."
appearance of this article in one of the world's leading papers
tells us that there has been a real shift in the perception of
milk. And the article will surely further that shift. The Guardian
deserves many appreciative letters to the editor. The paper takes letters
notes, "We do not publish letters where only an email address is
supplied; please include a full postal address and a reference to the
relevant article. If you do not want your email address published, please
say so. We may edit letters."
hope you will forward this article to those who assume that animal
advocates who shun milk are extremists who put slight animal
discomfort before great benefit to human health. The article should serve
as quite a wake-up call.
TODAY ARTICLE ON BIRTH OF RINGLING ELEPHANT
article in the Monday, December 15, USA Today is a sure sign that we have
come a long way as a movement.
Brothers has sent out a press release stating, "On December 5, 2003
at 9:25 a.m., Riccardo, a 232-pound male, Asian elephant, joined the
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation (CEC)
family." I have no doubt that just a few years ago, such an
announcement would have resulted in nothing but fluff pieces promoting
Ringling's wonderful conservation efforts. But the article in today's USA
Today (Pg. 7D) is headed, " Under the big top: Asian elephant
conservation. Animal activists say it's just an act."
we wish the article was an expose focusing exclusively on the cruelty of
the circus. We'll get there. But having the animal rights point of
view included in the headline is a sign that we have come very far.
Rather than just swallowing the circus's press release, the paper also
sought the animal rights view. If I was into drinking before noon, I'd be
breaking out the Verve Cliquot.
article, by Joe Eaton, presents the Ringling spin. It quotes Ringling's Kenneth
Feld saying he is as proud and happy as he would be about having his own
"Riccardo was born at Ringling's Center for Elephant Conservation, a
private 200-acre breeding and elephant retirement facility near Tampa. The
program has had 16 elephant births, including Riccardo's parents, since
1992. It expects four more arrivals in the next 18 months. Ringling has 64
Asian elephants, a third of which perform in the circus. The success of
the breeding program is a success for the endangered Asian elephant, Feld
out the disingenuousness of Ringling's position, HSUS's Wayne Pacelle
is quoted: "'We're not just making them do tricks and keeping
them in chains. We're saving elephants.' That's what they are
animal welfare groups and a former Ringling Bros. employee have filed suit
in U.S. District Court charging that the circus's handling of Asian
elephants violates the Endangered Species Act. The suit says that, among
claims of abuse, the circus uses ropes and chains to forcibly remove
nursing baby elephants from their mothers.
the final lines we are reminded that the whole point of the conservation
effort is to acquire elephants for the circus:
says Riccardo's future is uncertain. When he's 3 or 4 years old, his
temperament will be evaluated to determine whether he will go to the
circus. But because male elephants tend to be more aggressive than
females, Riccardo may never see the big top."
can read the full article on line at: http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20031215/5759670s.htm
thank USA Today for including the information about separating babies from
mothers using ropes and chains, and reminding readers that a life in
the circus is a life in chains (using your own words please). The
story has given us a great opportunity to write letters to the editor
providing more information on the cruelty of the circus. You'll find
loads of information on the treatment of performing animals,
including distressing footage of baby elephants being beaten during
training sessions, at http://www.circuses.com/
ROOM PHOTOS GET NEGATIVE FEEDBACK FOR AKRON BEACON
Sunday, December 14, Akron Beacon Journal includes a column by Public
Editor, Mike Needs, in response to reader complaints about a photo of
freshly killed dogs in the city shelter's euthanasia room. The piece
is headed, "You may not like it, but it's
in Tuesday's paper, way back on Page A13, was a small photo showing three
dead dogs in the 'kill room' of the Summit County Animal Shelter. It
was part of an in-depth look at the controversy surrounding the
You will find that disturbing article, from Tuesday December 9,
though not the photos, on line at: http://www.ohio.com/mld/ohio/news/7448561.htm )
tells us that many readers wrote angry letters, with lines such as the
know what happens at the shelter. I DO NOT need it to slap me in the
responds, "Do we really know
what goes on at the shelter? I thought I did until I read last week's
series of stories. Record-keeping is haphazard. Kittens get needles big
enough to kill a cow. And while the county disputes abuse claims by animal
activists, many questions remain.
the heart of the issue is the 'kill room,' where unwanted
animals get their deadly doses of Fatal Plus. As one editor explained, you
need to see this room to fully understand what goes on there. Another
editor pointed out that newspapers take readers to places they cannot go
tells us that a reader who had just had her dog, suffering from
cancer, euthanized, wrote: "Thank you so much for tearing open my
heart that still aches for the pet I recently lost.... I only wish that
you could be as haunted by that image as I am.''
"I'm glad the photo wasn't full color, big on the front page. But I
also understand how painful it was for many to confront the reality of the 'kill
room.' Perhaps that emotion can be channeled into efforts to prevent more
pets from ending up there. Sometimes it takes a shocking photo to draw
attention to a serious issue."
slogan for the Genesis Awards is "Cruelty Can't Stand the
Spotlight." We hope it is true. What is certainly true is that the
horrendous and common suffering our society inflicts on millions
of animals every year is rarely given the spotlight. And in this instance,
when it was, the paper received mostly irate feedback.
At the bottom of Mike Needs's column it says:
"Send comments about the Beacon Journal to Public
Editor Mike Needs. Phone: 330-996-3860. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org "
Needs and his editors deserve some positive
feedback. Please take a moment to thank them for being willing to disturb their
readers by sharing the offensive truth -- a truth that
might shock the city into calling for change.
You may like to send a letter to the editor: email@example.com
. You must include your name, address
and phone number to be considered for publication.
ANGELES TIMES ARTICLE PROMOTING ANIMAL ADOPTION
Thursday, December 11, Los Angeles Times, included a particularly
lovely article encouraging people to adopt rather than purchase dogs.
Written by Barbara King, the editor of the Home Section, it is headed
"They know what you've done for them"
and sub-headed, "Pass up the puppy mills and backyard breeders in
favor of a pet that needs you every bit as much as you need it."
Accompanying the article is a large photo of Diane Keaton (who stars in a
new movie opening today, with Jack Nicholson, called "Something's
Gotta Give") holding one of the dogs from a rescue campaign
called "Home 4 the Holidays." She is the campaign's
opens the article with a discussion of a visit to Angel Canyon
in Utah where "the country's largest sanctuary for abused and
abandoned animals is located." She is referring to the wonderful
sanctuary Best Friends: http://www.BestFriends.org
writes, "By the time I got back to L.A., I was a tolerable human
being again, rescued from the vulgarity of self-indulgence by animals who
themselves had been rescued from the far more profound abyss of cruelty
mentions her own adopted dogs, then writes:
animals are 'eternally grateful. They know what you've done for them,' one
of my vets told me when I asked why Callie, another of my foundlings,
practically sang arias in my presence and gave me misty-eyed looks that
put me in mind of Nancy Reagan gazing at Ronnie.
King tells us about the 'Home 4 the Holidays' program "that began
four years ago in Southern California and has since spread with startling
effectiveness and speed to 1,300 shelters in 20 countries." She
shares a quote from the program's creator, Michael Arms, who says he wants
the animals going into homes this Christmas to be "the orphaned ones,
those in shelters, rather than those from puppy mills and backyard
breeders. I wanted to really bring attention to all the wonderful animals
who are looking for homes, who don't want to keep waking up behind
We read encouraging statistics about the program:
"So far, more than 300,000 animals have been
adopted worldwide as part of the Home 4 the Holidays drive which runs
from early November to just after New Year's and Arms has a goal this
year of adding 225,000 more to that figure. Only 2% of animals adopted
from the program have been returned, a much smaller percentage, says Arms,
than the throwaways who have been purchased from pet stores or breeders
'often on impulse, because they're cute,' and later dumped or delivered to
King ends her column with heartfelt words of
appreciation for celebrities, such as Keaton, who "put their fame to
work for something other than self-promotion and get out there to promote
animal welfare." She writes, "If ever I were in their presence,
I imagine I would trill arias to them and follow them around with moist,
adoring brown eyes, just like my dog Callie."
is a lovely article, and important, as it appears in one of the country's
biggest papers as puppy buying season approaches. You can read it on line
consider writing a quick supportive letter to the editor. You may want to
include information about the importance of spay-neuter to prevent
over-population (all animals adopted from shelters in California are
'fixed' -- but purchased animals need not be) and share your own
joyous experiences with rescued animals.
Los Angeles Times takes letters at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can thank Barbara King for the article at: email@example.com
JERSEY BEAR HUNT ON CHICAGO TRIBUNE FRONT PAGE
New Jersey bear hunt is on the front page of the Thursday, December 11,
Chicago Tribune. The story, by Kirsten Scharnberg, is headed
"Activists square off with hunters and state wildlife officials, who
have declared the animals a menace."
opens, "Smiling proudly, a father and son dressed in winter
camouflage and blaze orange caps emerged from the hills beyond Lake
Wawayanda. In the bed of their pickup truck lay a 200-pound female black
bear, her large paws outstretched, her head slumped to one side as though
she was sleeping.
was a healthy, hearty female,' said Martin McHugh, director of New
Jersey's Division of Fish and Wildlife.
can read the whole article on line at:
Chicago Tribune takes letters at: ctc-TribLetter@Tribune.com
One of the groups leading the opposition to the bear hunt is the Fund for Animals. Mike Markarian, president of the Fund, was kind enough to share with me (and permit me to share with you) his letter to The New York Times, in which he gives a compelling argument against the hunt as a way to deal with with "problem bears." He writes, "state officials already had the ability to kill problem bears. Those killed during the six-day hunt were likely just minding their own business. Shooting bears at random (is)... like trying to reduce crime by shooting into a crowded room."
See the alert below for more information, including contact information for Governor McGreevey.
CUB DIES AS MOTORISTS WATCH
Jersey's bear hunt continues. A story on Newark's Star-Ledger website, by
Brian T. Murray and Judy Peet, is headed "Bear tally increases and
hunt will widen to federal park land." It includes the following
description of the death of a cub:
in a sad footnote, morning rush-hour commuters on Route 23 in West Milford
got a front-row view of the hunt, when a mortally wounded cub staggered
out of the woods, lay down with his head resting on the road, and died.
just broke my heart, sitting there in traffic watching him die,' said Kari
Casper, a fourth-grade teacher from Vernon who was on her way to work in
was just a little guy and looked so lonely, lying there with snow on his
paws,' said Casper, who said she cried as she watched the bear for about
20 minutes as she sat in traffic.
Milford police said they received at least 25 calls around 7:30 a.m. about
the injured cub.
we got there, he was dead and there were all these cars pulled on the side
of the road and people crying,' police dispatcher Lorraine Steins said.
"I feel like we should apologize to the bears.'
said a hunter showed up some time later, identified the cub as his kill
and took it away. The hunter was not cited because he had the proper state
permit and had tracked the wounded bear out of the woods. There is no way
to control where a wounded bear will go to die."
can read the whole story at:
Star Ledger takes letters at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Governor McGreevey and Commissioner Campbell take phone calls at:
McGreevey 609-292-6000 or 609-777 2500
is the first bear hunt in New Jersey for 33 years. Perhaps an overwhelming
public outcry, from all over the country, will make it the last. Please
call. And please be polite, for the sake of the bears, who need
representatives who sound strong, persistent, and sane -- even when
we are deeply distressed.
YORK TIMES STORY ON BEAR HUNT -- AND TWO ANTI HUNTING
Meyers/The New York Times
Tuesday, December 9, New York Times, includes a story about the New
Jersey bear hunt, and two anti-hunting op-eds.
Hunters Kill, Protesters Howl" (pg A25), by Robert Hanley and Jason
George, includes a photo of a dead female bear being weighed. The web
version includes an even more upsetting photo, in which you can see her
face -- she looks rather like somebody's dog who has been hit by a car.
article opens, "Thirty-three years after New Jersey's last bear hunt,
hundreds of hunters armed with shotguns and muzzle-loading rifles tromped
through a foot of snow on Monday in search of some of what could be as
many as 3,300 black bears thought to be living in northwest New Jersey.
six-day hunt had been alternately hailed as an attempt to cull a bear
population that had grown to dangerous proportions and lambasted as a
cruel exercise in human vanity."
learn, "There was speculation early in the day that the snow would
keep the bears in their dens, where hunters were forbidden by the rules of
the hunt. But by 5 p.m., hunters had killed 61 bears, the largest weighing
498 pounds.... Hunters who spent a futile day in the snowy woods said more
bears would have been killed if the weather were warmer and the ridges and
swamps of northwestern New Jersey were free of snow. After all, they
noted, bears have not been hunted in the state since 1970 and have no
wariness of hunters."
is a strong quote from Steve Ember, a member of the executive
committee of the Sierra Club: "This is an extermination, not a
page includes an op-ed by Charles Siebert, headed, "A New
Bear in Town." From that article we learn, "In July, the
New Jersey Fish and Game Council approved a hunt" and that "the
commissioner ultimately decided to back the council's decision, as did a
reluctant Gov. James E. McGreevy, a Democrat who had won the backing of
environmental groups in part by promising to protect the state's
writes, "Hunting has become its own kind of endangered species, a
long-ago ritualized form of recreation (not to mention a hefty source of
state revenue). But as a method of animal-population control and
containment it is a shot in the dark." He would like to see steps
taken to discourage bears from approaching human occupied terrain, and
writes, "As for those bears that prove resistant to all efforts at
re-education, selective euthanasia by professional sharpshooters is surely
a preferable alternative to the invariably messy exploits of amateur
hunters set loose among an indeterminate number of free-roaming
the same paper, an op-ed by HSUS's Wayne Pacelle discusses a specific type
of hunting known as a "canned hunt," in which animals, fenced in
on a ranch, are shot. One pays the ranch owner for a guaranteed kill. The
piece is headed, "Stacking the Hunt." We learn,
the United States, there are at least 4,000 'canned hunting' operations,
where people may pay thousands of dollars to pursue trophy animals that
have little chance to escape. Bird-shooting operations offer pheasants,
quail, partridges and mallard ducks, sometimes dizzying the birds and
planting them in front of hunters or tossing them from towers toward
hunts flourish despite opposition from animal advocates, many hunters, and
some hunting groups. A key supporter is the Safari Club.
Pacelle tells us about that group's award program:
win the club's Africa Big Five award, for example, you have to go to
Africa to shoot the elephant, the rhinoceros and the leopard, but you can
pick off the Cape buffalo and the lion in the United States. There is even
an award for Introduced Trophy Animals of North America, in which you can
do all your hunting for 18 different species right here at home. In fact,
you can shoot all of the species for an award category at just one place.
It's one-stop shopping. No more expensive fortnights in the wilds of
Africa and no one to know whether the head mounted above the mantel
came from Asia or Oklahoma."
us that this year, New York almost passed a law banning canned hunts,
but it was vetoed by Gov. George Pataki.
the piece presents an excellent argument against this form of hunting, I
was disturbed by the opening: "This fall, more than 10 million
Americans went hunting. Some met with success, maybe even managing to
bring home some ducks or geese or a deer. Of those who returned
empty-handed, many did so with the knowledge that a fair hunt comes with
hunt? Fenced in or not, I doubt the ducks, geese or deer would consider hunts
to be fair unless they too were provided with fire-arms and trained
in their use. There is nothing fair about hunting those gentle animals.
Long before Pacelle became a superb DC lobbyist on behalf the animals and
one of our movement's most effective representatives in the media, he earned
his radical animal rights activist credentials as a hunt saboteur. We can
be sure he is not a fan of any hunting, and no doubt is using the term
"fair" loosely, while referring to what one might call
"traditional" hunts, where the animals have some chance of
escape. However, I think it is a shame, even when we are on the same side
as some hunters on an issue, to buy into their interpretation of the
"sport" and use their language. It runs the risk of suggesting
that a representative of the Humane Society of the United States, while
coming out against canned hunts, is condoning other forms of hunting
for sport. On the contrary, the HSUS has a superb anti-hunting page on the
web at: http://www.hsus.org/ace/12043
page is a good reference page for arguments against hunting. And the bear
hunt story, and the two op-eds, present a great opportunity for
anti-hunting letters to the New York Times.
Times takes letters at: email@example.com
can read the full articles on line:
Hunters Kill, Protesters Howl":
New Bear in Town":
ANGELES TIMES -- "A KILLING FLOOR
Los Angeles Times has given front page coverage to the story of an animal
rights activist who used to work on the killing floor at a Tyson
processing plant. The article, by Stephanie Simon, is headed "A
Killing Floor Chronicle." It tells of Virgil Butler's efforts to
spread the word about the suffering of chickens at such plants, by
posting his tale, in daily segments, at: http://www.cyberactivist.blogspot.com
blog, which runs more than 200 pages, describes everything from the bird
droppings that seemed to hang in the air ('kind of gritty, like Metamucil,
and kind of salty') to the panic he thought he saw in the chickens
('sometimes, you catch one looking up at you, eye to eye, and you know
it's terrified'). He spares no gore in recounting the slaughter, including
the occasional mishaps that condemn some birds to broken bones, shocks,
bruises and being boiled alive in the scalding tank."
is a quote from Bruce Webster, a poultry scientist at the University of
Georgia who advises KFC on animal welfare. He says such mistakes are
'"not common in terms of the number of birds per thousand affected,
but if you stand there long enough, you will probably see it happen."
article makes Butler, perhaps, seem like a questionable character,
noting that he has served time in jail for manslaughter and has been
arrested on drug charges. But it is highly likely, particularly with its
front page placement, to drive many people to take a look at Butler's blog;
there they will get quite an education as to what goes on at poultry
can read the Los Angeles Times article on line at:
Los Angeles Times, one of American's largest newspapers, has printed
quite a few animal friendly articles lately -- poultry friendly in
particular, which is gratifying since over 98% of the animals killed
every year in this country are birds, and they are the animals who are least
protected by legislation. The LA Times recently ran a
prominently placed story on an effort in Sonoma to ban foie gras, also an
article about the live hen wood-chipping incident, and it ran our op-ed in
response to that incident. And the paper published many
extremely animal friendly letters in response to all of those articles.
send the Los Angeles Times appreciative letters to the editor in response
to this detailed front page story about an activist who devotes his time
to the plight of chickens. The article itself did not focus that much
on animal suffering, so it would be great if letters to the editor
could address that issue and perhaps note the joys of a diet
free of animal products. The best resource I know for information on the
plight of chickens is the United Poultry Concerns website, http://www.upc-online.org/
Los Angeles Times takes letters at: firstname.lastname@example.org
ZOO SCANDAL IN WASHINGTON POST
The serious problems at the National Zoo are on the front page of the
Sunday, December 7, Washington Post. The article, by Karlyn Barker
and James V. Grimaldi, is headed "Pattern of Mistakes Found in Zoo
YORK TIMES ON PERSONAL ATTACK TACTICS
Business section of the Sunday, December 7, New York Times has an article
looking at home demos and other personal attacks by animal rights
activists against those in involved in animal exploitation industries. The
article, by Alex Markels, is headed, "Protesters Carry the Fight to
opens telling us of a stunt by Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, or SHAC,
which targets those who do business with the notorious Huntingdon Life
Sciences animal testing lab: a woman opened the door to a person
delivering a coffin that had been ordered for her.
notion of harassing employees beyond the confines of the workplace is
hardly new to the corporate protest movement. But in the years since the
filmmaker Michael Moore first pursued Roger Smith, then the chief
executive of General Motors, in the movie 'Roger and Me,' protesters fed
up with conventional methods of dissent have carried out increasingly
intrusive incursions into the homes, neighborhoods and the private lives
article discusses PETA's campaign against Burger King, which included
calls made by Ingrid Newkirk to the wife of the company's chief executive:
"With months of telephone calls, handwritten letters and parcels
filled with videos depicting farm animal cruelty, Ms. Newkirk says she
persuaded Mrs. Dasburg to show one of the videos to her husband."
Similar tactics have been employed in the KFC campaign. Newkirk
is quoted, "'People may say, 'Oh, isn't it awful that they harass
them in their homes,' but the sad fact is that it's often the only thing
article ends with an interesting quote from SHAC's Kevin Jonas: "The
more we're painted in the media as terrorists the better, because no
investment banker or pharmaceutical client is going to want to touch
Huntingdon with a 10-foot pole."
can read the whole story on line at:
of the complaints some mainstream activists have against harassment
tactics is that they can make the abusers seem like victims in the eyes of
the public. And they can take the media and public focus off
animal suffering. This article at least reminds the public that there
are those who vehemently oppose animal testing and fast food industry
cruelty -- one could argue that such a reminder is better than media
silence. But there is a price to the movement's image (Jonas might say
it's a dividend) and indeed, this article is all about activists and
tactics -- it hardly mentions animal suffering. Letters to the
editor, however, can redress the omission.
remind the New York Times what it is that SHAC and/or PETA are protesting.
will find loads of information on the SHAC campaign at:
you can learn all about the KFC campaign at:
New York Times takes letters at: email@example.com
PORNOGRAPHY OF MEAT REVIEWED BY NATIONAL REVIEW
latest offering from Carol J. Adams, "The Pornography of Meat"
is reviewed this week on the National Review Online website.
was expecting a less than lovely review from the conservative
magazine; her expectation was met. But though the reviewer hated the book,
I rather like the review. It does a reasonable job of presenting Adams's
provocative argument -- good enough to generate some interest amongst the
magazine's more thoughtful readers. And some of Jason Steorts's arguments
against the book are weak enough to be easily discounted. So, it is a
good bad review.
carries the inviting heading, "Sex on the Kitchen Table."
Steorts tells us "The book's central thesis is that the culture of
meat eating is an expression of male power. According to Adams, men see
life on earth as a hierarchy in which women occupy a higher place than
animals (or, to use Adams's preferred term, 'non-humans'), but men rule
or less -- not so much that men see things that way, but that meat
eating is an intrinsic part of a patriarchal society.
he calls it "pseudo-philosophical jargon," Steorts
presents, fairly, Adams' compelling theory of the "Absent
he quotes her:
someone can be consumed or used, she has to be seen as consumable, as
usable, as a something instead of a someone."
in a snide tone he further explains the idea, and gets it pretty much
let those words 'someone' and 'she' lead you astray: Adams is talking
about animals, not people. Meat eaters take 'someone who is a unique
being' and make it into 'something that is the appropriate referent of a
mass term.' Bessie the Cow is thus transformed into an 'absent
referent' and when you eat your hamburger, you think of it not as poor
Bessie, but simply as ground beef.
thinks the dominant male culture does something similar to women."
also explains her term "anthropornography": "the
depiction of nonhuman animals as whores," and notes that she sees it
"particularly in advertisements that portray animals in a feminine
manner." Then he writes, "Confronted with such evidence,
one might conclude simply that some advertisers use sex to sell food. This
is hardly surprising: Advertisers use sex to sell just about everything,
and while doing so might be in poor taste, it is rarely
I look at an image on page 14: We see a roasted chicken,
photographed from above, wings crossed behind what should be the head but
is the severed neck. A bikini has been painted on the carcass,
so we have the impression of a sunbathing woman, roasting in the sun. The
picture could not possibly be interpreted as sexy, as the use of sex
to sell; it is grotesque. So Steorts's explanation won't work. But it
is easy to see Adams's point here -- that a link is being drawn between
two consumable objects.
book is filled with fascinating images in which we see animals feminized
and women animalized. Steorts writes that Adams "manages to find
misogyny in the most curious places such as, for example, a photograph
of a filet mignon with a bite cut from it." I too found a
few of her analogies hard to see -- sometimes they are
clear, sometimes too much of a stretch. But the pictures and arguments are
however, finds her argument "noxious" because of "her
ridiculous assumption that animals are entitled to the same protection
from harm as human beings." He sneers at the idea that Adams knows
"what it is like to look at a nonhuman animal and have an individual
look back." Then comes a line with which I suspect he will lose many
of his readers, not just the vegetarians. He writes that Adams
"simply repeats the adolescent cant that animals have feelings too
an unverifiable claim at best, and one that, in any case, contains no
was a time when scientists tried to tell us that animals have no feelings.
Thankfully we are finally seeing a shift even in that industry,
which has such a vested interest in questioning animal sentience and
emotion. But is there anybody in the general public who needs verification
for the claim that animals have feelings? Certainly nobody who has ever
lived with a dog -- and most American's have, at some time in their lives.
why I like the review. Steorts reveals that his antipathy comes from an
anti animal stance far too strong to be shared by the majority of his
readers. And he does a decent job of presenting Adams's arguments, likely
to pique some interest in the book.
can read his review at:
Pornography of Meat' is short, easy to read, and loaded with provocative
images from popular culture. It would make a great holiday gift for
anybody with an interest in feminism. You can buy it from Amazon at:
know many of my subscribers are fans of Carol Adams. If you are, and like
The Pornography of Meat, please take a few minutes to post a short
review on Amazon. If you go to the page linked above, and click on the
book title or jacket, you will get to a page which has reviews and a place
under "All customer reviews" where you can "Write an online
ANGELES TIMES OP-ED ON WOOD CHIPPERS AND AVMA POLICY
Los Angeles Times, Monday, December 1, has run an op-ed I wrote with Peter
Singer about the live hen wood chipping incident, and the appalling
record of the AVMA on farmed animal welfare. It is headed, "Back at
the Ranch, A Horror Story," (Part 2, Page 11.)
opens, "A ranch owner in San Diego County disposes of 30,000
nonproductive egg-laying hens by feeding them into a wood chipper. Live
hens are dumped into the shredder, some likely to hit feet first, some
breast first. Sound like a scene from a horror movie? It's a true story.
One would surely expect the ranchers to be prosecuted, but California
humane slaughter laws do not cover unproductive egg-laying hens."
learn that the hens should have been covered by the California
anti-cruelty statute, which (unlike in many states) does not exempt
farmed animals. However, since the act was allegedly supervised by a
veterinarian who is on the American Veterinary Medical Association's
animal welfare committee, the district attorney could not find criminal
intent on the part of the ranchers who were just "following
would like to have expressed our surprise that someone on the AVMA's
animal welfare committee would have condoned such an act. But the op-ed
notes AVMA stances on farmed animal welfare that are clearly not
in the best interest of the animals. For example, the AVMA refuses to take
a clear stance against forced molting (the starving of hens in order to
induce an extra round of laying) and opposes legislation that would ban
the housing of sows in crates so small that the animals cannot even
turn around or lie down with legs outstretched.
can read the full op-ed on line at:
I have a copy on my website for those who want to avoid registering and
signing in with the LA Times: Back
at the Ranch
would be thrilled to see letters to the editor reminding people that eggs,
or any animal products, are not a necessary part of the human diet; one
sure way to avoid being part of this kind of cruelty is to give them up.
Also, very useful, would be appreciative letters to the editor thanking
the Times for printing an op-ed focusing on farmed animal issues.
Los Angeles Times takes letters at: firstname.lastname@example.org
you are shocked, or at least disgusted, to learn that a vet on the animal
welfare committee of the AVMA condones putting live hens in wood chippers,
please share your reaction with that organization and request Gregg
Cutler's removal. You might also voice your opinion about the AVMA's
stances on forced molting and sow gestation crates.
AVMA can be emailed at: email@example.com
send a huge thank you to Karen Davis, of United Poultry Concerns (http://www.upc-online.org/) for
all of her work on the wood chipper case, including the acquisition
of documents we relied upon for the Los Angeles Times op-ed.